From hot pot, to dim sum, to barbecue, a wide variety of Chinese restaurants contribute to Chicago’s culinary world. It’s also good news that quality options have never been limited to Chinatown, which has also been transforming in recent years with new additions and expanding past neighborhood borders to Pilsen and Bridgeport. Diversity is in full display with these 20 spots.Read More
Chicago’s Essential Chinese Restaurants
Explore the various regional flavors of China
Sun Wah BBQ
Guests are greeted by the sight of hanging meats like barbecued pork and salt-baked chicken at this beloved Uptown eatery. But the main attraction here is the Peking duck feast. A whole roasted duck is carved tableside and served with steamed bao, garnishes, and hoisin sauce. The remains are then used to make duck soup and fried rice. Call ahead to reserve the duck; alcohol is BYO. They are a James Beard Award winner.
There are many places to get dim sum in Chicago but very few are still doing it like Furama. On weekends, servers push carts of food around the room for guests to choose from. The iconic dining experience features baskets of shrimp dumplings, barbecue pork buns, egg tarts, and more. Click here for orders to go.
Friendship’s menu isn’t as long as many Chinese-American menus. They’ve curated the selections with an emphasis on quality ingredients served with Western-style plating. Don’t take that as being snobbish or overpriced. Friendship, as the name implies, is a welcoming place for top-notch noodles, dumplings, and other Cantonese greats. Logan Square is lucky to have such wizardry.
The North Side is a relative dim sum desert but this Lincoln Park space gives Chicagoans a reason to venture outside of Chinatown for their fill of buns and dumplings. D Cuisine makes its dim sum in-house and offers a full lineup all day long. Munch on classics like siu mai, chicken feet, and congee or go with the Guangzhou-style roasted chicken for an impeccable large course. Online orders can be placed here.
Set taste buds on fire with copious amounts of chilis and peppercorns. Lincoln Park’s Sichuan expert satisfies mala — the province’s famous mouth-numbing flavor — cravings with choices like mapo tofu, dandan noodles, and dry chili chicken. They provide warming comfort during the cold season and leave a lasting impression. Online ordering is done here. There are also locations in Edgewater and Wicker Park.
Lao Peng You
Brothers Daniel and Eric Wat opened this small West Town restaurant in late 2019 and quickly earned recognition for their handmade specialties. Drawing inspiration from childhood memories and family recipes, the two have created exceptional dumplings swimming in hot and sour broth and noodles available two ways — cold or in soups. Be sure to save some room for the lamb-cumin flatbread too. Lao Peng You currently accepts orders for pickup and lunch delivery.
Shang Noodle Chicago Streeterville
Chicago doesn’t have as many hand-pulled noodle shops as a city this large would have diners to expect. But in Streeterville, a minichain, Shang Noodle, satiates those starchy cravings. It’s from the owners for Niu, a popular sushi spot, the noodle soups, headlined by Taiwanese beef, are great on cold days. The chow fun is also a great dish.
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With locations in Chinatown and West Loop, Xi’an Cuisine is not just about the menu, but the talent in the kitchen to properly execute it. That means dishes that are fried are crispy and not scorched. Sauces are seasoned appropriately and chicken isn’t served overcooked and stringy. There’s both a more traditional X’ian menu section with noodles and an American Chinese section. Curiously, there’s a special stir-fried beef dish called the Moshe Moshe, named after the True West Loop Facebook group moderator. It’s a crispy, sweet, and savory mix and worth ordering. Ownership says it’s more labor-intensive than other dishes, hence the extra few dollars. It’s worth it.
Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings
Arguably the finest dumplings in Chicago can be had in Chinatown. QXY specializes in soup dumplings filled with everything from pork and lamb to premium ingredients like lobster and sea urchin. Barbecue skewers are popular as well. Click here to order.
BBQ King House
Devour a variety of meats at this Chinese barbecue house. The popular Beijing duck dinner feeds three to four people and comes with additional courses like fried shrimp and duck bone soup. Other menu highlights include soy sauce chicken, barbecued pork, and roasted pork.
Considered by some to be Chinatown’s premier restaurant, Phoenix has it all. The neighborhood stalwart treats diners to dim sum served from pushcarts and multi-course, family-style meals consisting of all of the essential Cantonese dishes. Carryout and delivery orders can be placed online.
Now with six locations, MingHin is one of Chicagoland’s most well-known Chinese restaurants. Dim sum is always solid and served all day, while the dinner menu boasts intriguing delicacies like braised bird’s nest soup and seared foie gras. Pro tip: The Macau-style roasted pork belly is a must-order. Carryout and delivery orders can be placed here.
Moon Palace Express/Nine Bar
Moon Palace Express is a family-owned takeout specialist that was recently revamped. In the back, they’ve added Nine Bar, Chinatown’s only cocktail bar, a sleek lounge with a tremendous bar bite menu. The 1-2 punch of Moon Palace’s kung pao chicken and Nine Bar’s fun drinks and items like a pork katsu sandwich is tough to beat.
Tucked away on a quieter section of Cermak Road, Golden Bull delivers no-frills homestyle cooking. Pan-seared beef and enormous steamed oysters are terrific, and those in need of late-night sustenance will find salvation in the rice casseroles. Order here.
Haidilao Hot Pot Chicago
On the ground floor of 88 Marketplace, a location of the largest hot pot chain in China is thriving. Haidilao is a high-end restaurant that’s always bustling on weekends. The occasional robot will bring out ingredients like wagyu. The dancing noodles, pulled table side, are a highlight.
Dolo Restaurant and Bar
Highly regarded for its made-to-order dim sum and fresh seafood, Dolo is an essential dining destination. Stop in during the day for shareable buns and dumplings or dine at night and enjoy Cantonese staples and Cajun-style boils. As an added bonus, customers don’t have to worry about finding parking since there’s a private lot. Order carryout and delivery through Dolo’s website.
Slurp Slurp Noodles
Noodles are on virtually every Chinese menu but very few do it like this specialist. The kitchen hand pulls and shaves its noodles in-house and offers them in soup or stir fried. The homey dish is rounded out with protein options that include beef spare ribs, pork belly, brisket, lamb, seafood, some offal cuts, and more. Orders can be placed here.
Chiu Quon Bakery & Dim Sum
Chicago’s oldest traditional Chinese bakery is home to a world of sweet and savory delights. Fill a box up with barbecue pork buns, egg tarts, sesame balls, cookies, cakes, and much more. The budget-friendly menu also features dim sum items.
Da Mao Jia
Diners may be familiar with Sichuan cuisine but Da Mao Jia explores new territory, focusing on the street food of Chengdu. There’s an exciting selection of offal bites alongside regional dishes like spare ribs, Zhong dumplings, handmade sweet and spicy noodles, and diced rabbit. Just be ready for the bold and spicy flavors to pack a punch. Place orders for pickup and delivery here.
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When Jade Court opened back in 2016, former Tribune critic Phil Vettel deemed it among the city’s best Chinese restaurants. The Cantonese spot shuttered in 2019 after owner Eddy Cheung passed away, but his daughter Carol revived it last fall at a new space in Hyde Park. The menu still features skillfully executed favorites like a Beijing duck feast and lobster and Dungeness crab prepared in various styles. Place carryout and delivery orders here.